Health & Safety Executive’s Fee for Intervention scheme comes into effect

From 1 October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE)Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme comes into force in the UK. The result of thescheme is that businesses will be liable to pay the costs of the HSE’s formalenforcement charges if they are in breach of health and safety laws. The basisof FFI is founded upon the principle that those who do not comply with the lawshould pay for the work that the regulator must carry out as a result of thatnon-compliance.

FFI was introduced earlier this year via the Health andSafety (Fees) Regulations 2012, but was postponed in enforcement until 1October to enable the HSE to publish guidance on the matter. The guidance waspublished in June and is available for download from the HSE website.

FFI provides that businesses in contravention of health andsafety laws will be charged at a rate of £124 an hour where the HSE has to makea formal intervention to rectify a material breach. A ‘material’ breach ariseswhere an HSE inspector is of the opinion that there has been a contravention ofhealth and safety law that requires a written notice to be issued to thedutyholder. Charges will apply for HSE intervention from the point of time thatthis material breach is identified up until the point of rectification.

The charges will apply to all HSE-regulated sectors with theexception of a number of hazardous industries that already have chargingschemes in place. Those include offshore oil and gas production facilities,sites regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999(COMAH) and sites licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.

A review of the FFI scheme will be undertaken by the HSEafter the first twelve months of operation, and within three years of theregime coming into effect. The level of the charging rate will also be reviewedannually.

This article first appeared in Law-Now, CMS CameronMcKenna's free online information service, and has been reproduced with theirpermission. For more information about Law-Now, click here.